Drinking wine: You’re doing it wrong

I know, some of you might disagree. You might say Saturday night’s kick-ass dance moves or Sunday’s migraine proves otherwise.

Which is actually a pretty good point, so let me re-phrase. Tasting wine: you’re doing it wrong.

I recently signed up to an introductory course in appreciating wine. I thought it would make me so damn classy – I imagined myself looking something like this.

gif 1 - pretty - v2

I was wrong…  I ended up looking a lot more like this.

gif 2 - ugle - v2

Yeah, turns out wine snobbery is actually much less pleasant on the eye (or the ear) than I had thought.

BUT, my aim to be a wine wanker was not deterred. In fact, I learnt a lot in just the first couple of hours.  While I’ve got a long way to go in identifying flavors, grape varieties, regions, and age, I’d like to share with you a couple of the “quick wins” I took away.

1. Don’t wear lipstick

Wine tasting is a fancy (and expensive) hobby, so I dressed to impress just in case the room was full of fancy people. I took care in applying a beautiful Kate Hudson lipstick and marvelled at just how elegant it made me look. I sat down pretty confident, flashing a dazzling smile with my luscious lips. Then one of the first things we were informed is that the wax in lipstick can interfere with the bubbles in sparkling and you should never wear it when tasting wine….

Feeling fancy and fabulous… Wait what? No lipstick? … Maybe everything will be fine if I just… Still glamorous right?

2. Don’t wear perfume or aftershave

One of the most important parts of tasting wine is the smell… So I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that the courtesy-gift cheap perfume I received from my mum’s friend’s long lost counsin’s ex-girlfriend for my 21st might mask the beautiful, sophisticated wine scent. Crap.

Oh yeah, I smell like J. Lo... You're kidding me. I can't wear this either? ... subtle, subtle... OMG get it off me!
Oh yeah, I smell like J. Lo… You’re kidding me. I can’t wear this either? … Subtle, subtle… OMG get it off me!

3. Sniff the inside of the glass before there’s even anything in it

It is kind of funny how classy I thought this course would make me, considering how many things I learnt that will make me look like a loser. But, it totally makes sense to make sure you’re working with a clean slate. You’re going to look like more of an idiot if you take a whiff of shiraz and say “hmmm, I’m definitely smelling citrus and get the scent that it would be tough on grease but soft on hands.” Yep. Dishwashing liquid leaves a smell, and so does the box it came in, and so does that dirty tea towel you keep thinking it’s time to wash but never get around to because let’s be honest if you don’t watch the latest Game of Thrones episode now, everyone at work is going to ruin it for you tomorrow.

Wash your glasses in clean water. Drip dry or use paper towel. And always smell the glass before you start tasting. Here’s some smelling options to help you look like less of a loser.

melanie gilcrist
Just own it… Fake a distraction… Act like you’re just reaching for your water… Pretend you’re an elephant*

4. Get air moving around your mouth as you taste

If you really want to be a wanker  loser  pro, gulp in air as you’re tasting. You will look, and sound like a dying fish BUT it’s true, it does bring out the flavour. And you know, if you’re already looking like a tool, you might as well give spitting a go. Try to find a happy medium between a power spew and such little force it dribbles down your chin. Also, get in nice and close – you don’t want to look like a water fountain.

Getting air in… Not enough force… Too much force… The water fountain

So there you go. Follow these tips and you’re well on your way to being a pro.

*Disclaimer – I accept no responsibility for any social exclusion or punches in the face if you choose to attempt “The Elephant.” You do so at your own risk.

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